Miss America: Part 5

I miss:

UNC. It’s still my Disney World.

I don’t miss:

school rivalries. Hating other schools is time-consuming and pointless when yours is obviously superior.

“Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot,” warns Mark Twain before Huckleberry Finn begins. (I wonder if he predicted that thousands of students would eventually be analyzing his work despite his warnings…)

Just as in other children’s stories, the morals are hidden–Twain included this message as a way to assure children that they could read the book without fear of learning a life lesson and every guarantee that they would find a lot of enjoyment instead. He disguises his approval of qualities like kindness and imagination behind stories of adventure.

Similarly, Twain includes fanciful and exaggerated characters, like the pirates that perform a convoluted version of a Shakespeare play, catering to the imaginations of children.

He appeals to the child in all of us by writing the novel in the bildungsromantic style. Whether we’re academics recalling our own childhoods, wishing to escape our hectic lives and float down a river of potential, or for children wide-eyed and optimistic about the future.

Children’s books teach lessons while entertaining, with the latter goal being more obvious to keep children interested. Similar concerns about the appropriateness of children’s entertainment with the movie Where the Wild Things Are. Although there might be an element of fear and violence, children can be exposed to these novelistic qualities without inspiring them to recreate those scenes.

Ultimately, I think these stories inspire children to appreciate what they have while still serving as inspiration to continue dream. After all, while Huckleberry Finn is essentially an orphan, children can finish reading this novel or watching Where the Wild Things Are and, on some level, understand their own fortunate status.


One response to “Miss America: Part 5

  1. i know how you feel about hating other schools, and yes, it is hard to be the best. But if Purdues not best, who is??? hahaha

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